Presently, the field of beauty is one of the most promising careers. Between 2020 and 2030, the beauty specialty job outlook seems exciting. It’s expected to grow 19% faster than average.

You may be interested in a beauty-related course, but you are confused. You are also probably wondering what could suit you best between an esthetician or a cosmetologist. Thus, you may yearn to know more about each of these fields.

Don’t worry, many people with a great desire to move into the field of beauty are often confused by these two titles. This is especially if you have met several people handling various beauty treatments. You might have heard some of them referred to as estheticians and others known as cosmetologists. 

Indeed, there is a notable difference in job roles between a cosmetology career and the one in aesthetics. This is despite the many similarities between the two.

Cosmetologists are proficient in hair, scalp, and nails. Estheticians are experts in timeless skincare and makeup application. Thus, understanding the details of each career position will be beneficial. It will enable you to make a more informed decision when choosing a career pathway.

So, here are the essential details about a career as an esthetician or a cosmetologist.

Esthetician vs. Cosmetologist

Estheticians often focus more on direct skincare. Such specialists don’t do nails or hair cuts, but cosmetologists do. Besides, you can practice the more technical esthetic profession to become a medical esthetician

Contrary, if you are looking to apply more creativity and artistic skills as a beautician, cosmetology is undoubtedly your best option. So, what is cosmetology? This involves a career in hairstyling, nails, and makeup. You will also be giving clients hair care tips like how to take care of wavy hair.

What Does it Take to Start Practicing As an Esthetician or Cosmetologist?

What matters most is that you must take the licensure state board exam to kickstart your career as a beautician. Again, you must pass the exam to operate as a licensed cosmetologist or esthetician. 

The exams will depend on your state. So, if you’re studying esthetics in Florida, once you complete the education requirements, you will be eligible to sit for the Florida esthetician license exam. 

Thus, it’s okay to pursue the field you like for your beauty career. Both cosmetology and esthetician professionals have the opportunity to attain complete job satisfaction. This is because each field allows you to help your clients look and feel their best every day.

Are you ready to make your clients smile with a satisfied look? If you want to specialize in nail artistry, your state board exam is the only thing putting you back from your new career as a nail technician or manicurist.

Exams are indeed a daunting task. The majority find the examination process too overwhelming. But, all US states have a licensing requirement for a good course. They want to ensure public safety by upholding high standards in the nail care industry.

This explains why most states want you to take both a written and a practical exam. Thankfully, you can prepare best with the free nail practice test. With the practice test, you will be bold enough to face the state board exams, which most people find the scariest. This is because the practice questions reflect the questions in the actual exam.

That way, you know the nature of questions to expect in the actual nail-technician state board exam. You should expect 20 practice questions, all extracted from the main paper. They cover the two major topics, including:

  • Nail care
  • Nail structure and analysis
  • Licensing and regulation
  • Infection control

What You Need to Know

Working either in cosmetology or the aesthetics field enables you to interact with clients in similar environments. Such may include spas, resorts, and salons. However, each career has different job descriptions. 

Let’s say you are passionate about timeless skin care and helping clients attain their best skincare routine. In this case, an esthetician career is the best option for you. 

Understanding the Major Differences Between Cosmetology and Esthetics

Cosmetology and esthetics may have roles overlapping from time to time. But, in most areas, they are distinctly different as below:


Cosmetology is a general term for fields of study that focus on hair, nails, and makeup. Cosmetologists can choose to offer generalized services in all three areas. They may also choose to provide only specialized services in one particular area. 

Some of the services that you will offer clients in this field include:

  • Hairstyling
  • Hair shampooing
  • Haircutting
  • Hair texturing and relaxing
  • Other hair care tips
  • Nail application
  • Facials and waxing
  • Lash extensions
  • Salon management

However, not all cosmetologists can offer each of these services. But taking up a cosmetology program will at least give you the essentials to practice any of the above.


Esthetics focuses entirely on skincare services. This field is considered as a more specialized career. If you decide to train purely in esthetics, you won’t qualify for hair cutting, pedicures, or hair treatments. Nonetheless, some of the services that you might specialize in include:

  • Body waxing
  • Applying makeups, both temporary and permanent
  • Microdermabrasion
  • Massage services
  • Reflexology
  • Electrolysis

So, estheticians basically help their clients achieve their best skin possible. Your career journey as an esthetician could open your doors to work in places like spas, salons, or medical offices. As a licensed esthetician, some of your daily responsibilities might include:

  • Analyzing the skincare needs of patients and clients
  • Discussing with clients appropriate skin treatments and products
  • Performing other procedures like facials, body wraps, cleansing pores, and exfoliating treatments

Note that some of the above specializations might require extra training. You can also be a cosmetologist first, then decide to become an esthetician. You only need to go through additional training.

Besides being a skincare artist, you can also be a skincare scientist and educator. Skincare scientists go through a comprehensive study of skin anatomy and physiology. 

They specialize in the science of your skin and its proper care. By studying skin science, you can make informed decisions on how to best care for your clients’ skin.

Key Takeaways

If you love working as a beautician, you can choose to train either as an esthetician or a cosmetologist. Since you are now knowledgeable about each field, you can select what you are most interested in.

Both esthetics and cosmetology are marketable fields that benefit many people. So, your choice in the area of training will depend on what you love to do. If you’re looking to offer as many services as possible, it might help training on both courses. This will expand the variety of services you’ll be legally allowed to offer. 

It can also make getting an excellent customer base when starting as a self-employed personnel easier. Thankfully, from our discussion above, you can now decide which career to pursue. All the best in your decision-making!